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Chef's Knives

Chef's Knives

Chef's Knives
© Denzil Green

Chef's Knives have a blade 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long that tapers height-wise from at least 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) next to the handle right down to a fine tip. The French tradition of Chef Knives tends to form an almost triangular shape; German-style ones are a bit more curved.

A Chef's Knife is an all-purpose knife for cutting, chopping and mincing (though it's not good for bread.) Once you learn how to take advantage of a Chef's Knife, using one can be faster for some tasks than the time needed for the assembly, use and clean-up of a food processor.

With a chef's knife, you don't saw through food. Most of the time, you rock it from tip of knife to end. While rocking, keep the tip of the knife in contact with the cutting board. The ideal rocking motion is somewhat circular, pivoting on the knife tip. To chop or mince finely, rock back and forth, holding the handle and the upper part of the blade end.

When using a chef's knife for chopping or slicing, one hand holds the knife, the other holds or guides the food into the action of the blade. For the hand dealing with the food, curl your fingertips and thumb to be under the palm of your hand. This keeps your fingertips out of harm's way, and presents the knuckles to help in guiding the side of the blade.

You can turn a Chef's Knife upside down, and use the spine of it to scrape boards, pound and break bones, etc. You can use the side of the knife to crush garlic cloves.

Small 6 inch (15 cm) ones are good for coring, cutting cheese, etc.


Baker's Blade; Bread Knife; Ceramic Knives; Chef's Knives; Chinese Cleaver; Cleaver; Hockmesser; Japanese Knives; Knives; Mezzaluna; Palette Knives; Paring Knife; Ulu Knife; Utility Knife

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Also called:

French Knife


Oulton, Randal. "Chef's Knives." CooksInfo.com. Published 21 May 2005; revised 20 February 2007. Web. Accessed 06/21/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/chefs-knives>.

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